Everybody knows that you don't call 911 unless you've got an emergency...right? Well, not quite, because as you can see from this funny if not infuriatingly dumb list of unbelievable calls that 911 operators have received, some people have a pretty bizarre idea of what exactly constitutes an emergency. From the woman who thought her washing machine was possessed by the devil to the person who urgently needed to know whether it was legal for them to own a monkey, the calls below will make you laugh, and maybe cry a little, when you realize just how dumb some people can be. Don't forget to vote for your favorite!
Not an operator, but my boyfriend who called in.
He usually worked a late shift, walking home about 2 am. This shift he got off work a few hours late...
BF: I'd like to call and report a fire. [We live in a fire prone area and it was the season.]
911: Where is it located sir?
BF: On the hillside just East of [City].
911: Can you be more specific? [Typing away in the background.]
BF: Yes, [gives a more detailed location]. Oh god, it's getting bigger! The whole top of the hill is on fire now!
911: Stay calm sir, we're sending somebody out.
BF: It's getting bigger! Doesn't anybody else see this?! It's lighting up the sky around it...it's huge! Oh god! Oh...oh, wait...
BF: I am SO sorry...I'm not usually out this time of night, I just got off work late...that's, that's the sun...
BF: I am so, so sorry for wasting your time, there is no fire, that's just the sun rising. Never mind. I'm really embarrassed...
911: That's fine, Sir. I will cancel the call, thank you for calling.
Had another woman call saying her cat was stuck in a tree. I just knew she wanted the fire department to come save the cat, so I got my "that's only in movies/TV" speech ready. Then she said "...so my husband climbed up to get the cat and now he's stuck too."
A quite pregnant (don't remember exactly how far along, but definitely past 30 weeks) woman calls to say that her doctor told her to refrain from having sex for the rest of the pregnancy and she didn't understand why. I looked at her file, and saw she was having pre-term contractions, so I explained that sexual activity can cause contractions, so it was safer to abstain so the baby could stay inside as long as possible.
She tearfully exclaims, "But how will I feed the baby?!?"
Me: "I'm sorry, ma'am, could you repeat that?"
Patient: "How will I feed the baby if I can't have sex?!?"
The patient was convinced that her baby was living off of her boyfriend's semen, and that it would starve if they stopped having sex. I explained about the umbilical cord, etc. but she refused to believe me until I asked her about single moms, lesbian moms, etc. and asked how she though their babies fed and grew. After a moment of silence, she thanked me, and started to hang up the phone, but not before I heard her screaming her boyfriends name.
That man had a good thing going for a while there. I honestly wasn't sure if I felt more sorry for him, or a baby growing up in that household.
Just after I got cut loose from training, I received a priority one (meaning immediate response) animal ordinance call. Usually, this call is reserved for animals in traffic or vicious animals, where there is the potential for immediate threat to life.
The reporting party was a parent attending a school function. Caller advised there was a raccoon loose in the school.
I dispatched two officers to the call and they made it on scene. The officer then broadcasts the "suspect" description via radio. "Suspect is small, fast, and wearing a bandit mask. May have robbed a couple of trash cans. We lost him in a foot pursuit."
Not a 911 operator, but I do work for a kids helpline. I recently got a call from a panicked 11-year-old boy who thought he had locked himself in a wardrobe while home alone. I was on the phone with him for a while before I suggested sliding the door instead of pushing it out like you would when entering or exiting a room. I heard a few sniffles on the other end of the line and then a quiet "Oh yeah, I forgot the door went like that."
One woman called because she thought her house was being shot at. Turns out she forgot about her eggs boiling on the stove and they exploded. I wanted to give her a hug though, she was just a little old lady.
A woman dialled 999 to say there were men in her house trying to take her away. The men in question were police officers who had come to arrest her
Me: 911, where do you need assistance?
Drunk guy: At the convenient store. This guy won't sell me beer.
Me: Ok, why not?
Drunk guy: I can't show him my ID because I am not 21.
Me: Without an ID the clerk can not sell to you, especially if you are under age.
Drunk Guy: But other clerks let me bribe them before. I told him that and he still won't take my bribe and sell to me. Make him take the bribe!
Me: We won't force the clerk to accept your bribe. And definitely won't let him sell to a minor. Do you want to wait there and I can have an officer come talk to you in person?
Drunk Guy: Yea, I will sit outside and wait for you.
The best story I have is a guy who called about a bobcat in front of the library. He called up out of breath and said there was a wild cat intimidating people so they could not enter or exit the building.
I was fairly close so I started to run over. I asked if anyone was injured and he said no. I was expecting a group of people held up at the entrance by a huge cat hissing at everyone. I told him to keep away from it and stay on the line.
When I got there I found a tabby cat perched on a bench.
I verified the caller and the cat he called about. I went over to the cat with him and started pet him, he rolled over and let me scratch his belly.
The guy was shocked and said "oh, someone has domesticated it."
One guy called FRANTICALLY saying that he saw the dead body of a young woman, early 20s, wearing nothing but shorts. He gave a detailed description, hair color, skin color, body position, the whole bit and said she was by the side of the interstate (in the middle of an affluent suburban area at rush hour) so we figured this had to be a really fresh crime scene. We started scrambling together officers to get there ASAP, a big hassle considering it's rush hour and they're all dealing with accidents and stuff like that. On top of that, we can't say what the issue is on the radio is because we have too many busibodies who monitor police radio, then call us to try to get juicy details, or othewise meddle. So we have to get these officers to their cars to read the computer, leaving other issues, etc. And these are suburban cops in the Midwest, a murder is a damn big deal.
The guy calls back a few minutes later. "Uh, I checked again, it's a dead deer."
Peeved, I announce on the radio that the trip is cancelled, "it was a deer". An officer sarcastically calls back: "With shorts on?"